Ukrainian judge orders Biden be named as 'criminal perpetrator' in firing of chief prosecutor
A District Court judge in Kyiv, Ukraine, has ordered the country’s law enforcement services to formally list the fired prosecutor, Victor Shokin, as the victim of an alleged crime by the former U.S. vice president. As of publishing, the investigators have not yet complied with the order.
It was signed last month by District Court Judge S. V. Vovk, with the U.S. media largely ignoring the story. ACV Reports obtained the official English translation of the ruling Monday.
The court had previously ordered the Prosecutor General’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigations in February to investigate Shokin’s claim that he was fired in March 2016 under pressure from Biden. Shokin has alleged he was dismissed because his office was investigating Burisma Holdings, the natural gas company where Biden’s son Hunter worked.
The court ruled then that there was adequate evidence to investigate Shokin’s claim that Biden’s pressure on then-President Petro Poroshenko amounted to unlawful interference in the prosecutor’s duties to the state. That allegation includes Shokin’s contention that Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees unless he was removed from office.
When Ukrainian law enforcement agencies opened the probe, they refused to name Biden as the alleged perpetrator of the crime, instead listing the potential defendant as an unnamed American.
Vovk ruled that anonymous listing was improper and ordered the law enforcement agencies to formally name Biden as the accused perpetrator.
The ruling orders “a competent person of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine who conducts procedural management in [these] criminal proceedings ... dated February 24, 2020 to enter information into the Unified register of pretrial investigations … “ to name Biden as the previously "unnamed American."
Vovk found that a summary of facts in the case may indicate the commission of a criminal offense under Ukrainian law. The judge specifically cites information of interference in the activities of former Chief Prosecutor General of Ukraine Shokin allegedly performed by Biden, Vice-President of the United States at the time of the intervention.
The judge added, “The order of the court may not be appealed.”
Shokin’s attorney, Oleksandr Ivanovych Teleshetskyi, confirmed the ruling to ACV Reports but said Ukraine officials have not yet complied.
“Viktor Shokin publicly appealed to the president of Ukraine with a request to properly respond to illegal inaction in the investigation of criminal cases that are open against Joseph Biden,” Teleshetskyi said. “Let me remind you that they were discovered precisely as a result of the statement of Viktor Shokin.”
Former Ukrainian Chief Prosecutor Viktor Shokin alleges he was fired for investigating Vice-President Joe Biden’s son Hunter for corruption in the Burisma oil and gas scandal. (Photo: Natalya Maxim/Photo Alliance)
The Biden-Shokin saga played a central role in the Democrat-led impeachment proceedings that ended earlier this year with President Trump’s acquittal in the Senate.
Biden has bragged on camera videotape he forced then-Ukraine President Poroshenko to fire Shokin in March 2016 by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. But Biden has steadfastly denied Shokin’s firing was due to the Burisma case. Instead, Biden said, he and other Western leaders believed Shokin was ineffective as a corruption fighter.
Shokin, however, has alleged in a court affidavit he was told he was fired because he refused to stand down his investigation of alleged corruption by Burisma and after he planned to call Hunter Biden as a witness to question him about millions of dollars in payments his American firm received from the Ukraine gas company.
Shokin has also disputed Democrats' claims he was fired because he was incompetent or corrupt, producing among other pieces of evidence a letter from the U.S. State Department in summer 2015 that praised his anti-corruption plan as Ukraine’s chief prosecutor.
While the Biden-Shokin factual dispute remains unresolved, the impeachment trial last year generated testimony from State Department witnesses who said they believed Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma while his father oversaw U.S.-Ukraine policy created an uncomfortable appearance of a conflict of interest.
Both Bidens have denied wrongdoing but acknowledged they wished they had handled the matter differently.
Shokin’s continued pursuit of a case in the Ukraine courts could prompt new disclosures this summer as Biden readies for the fall election against Trump.
On Tuesday, a Ukraine parliamentary member released what he said were excerpts of phone calls between Poroshenko and Biden discussing Shokin’s firing, but neither man has confirmed their authenticity yet.
In an interview, Shokin told ACV Reports he is confident he can unearth evidence during the proceedings that Ukraine officials were satisfied with his performance and simply acceded to firing him to avoid losing the badly needed U.S. loan guarantees.